Chapter 3 - Dealing with Data Visualization

Types of Visuals

When thinking about how you want to display the data that you have found, consider all of the different ways to show data.

Pie Chart

Pie charts show how divisions (slices) make up a whole (pie). Pie charts work best when showing part-to-whole relationships, often represented through percentages.

Don’t use a pie chart if:

  • There are too many slices
  • The main purpose of the chart is to compare the slices to each other (it should be used to compare the parts to the whole)
  • Some slices overlap each other

Learn more about pie charts


Image via

Themed Percentage Charts

Themed charts are basically pie charts that use themed images rather than circles. Themed percentage charts make the information more interesting as it ties the meaning of the data to the chart that delivers it.

Avoid using themed percentage charts if the sections of information are more than three. That can get messy and confusing.

Graphic Percentages

Image via CopyPress

Bar and Line Charts

Bar and line charts display two pieces of information on an axis. This chart is good for showing comparisons between categories.

When considering a bar/line chart, first determine a range for your chart based on the largest value of your data. That will make it easy to decide on a range for the vertical axis and the size of each increment.

Order items from highest to lowest when showing information, unless the horizontal axis is showing increments of time.


Image via


A scatterplot is somewhat similar to a bar or line chart except that is does not use lines and bar to show the information. Rather, it just pinpoints the end of the bar or line with an image (usually a circle).

It’s a good idea to use a scatterplot if you want to use another graphic inside the chart to represent additional information.


Image via

Venn Diagram

Venn diagrams show the relationship between concepts by overlapping them when they relate to each other.

An image is only a true Venn diagram if there is a point in the image that all main circles overlap each other. (Twitter in the example below is in the section that is a part of the three pieces.)

Learn more about Venn diagrams


Image via

Periodic Table

Showing data in the form similar to the periodic table has become a popular. It is a good way to show a large group of items in an abbreviated way, and color coding allows for grouping.

periodic table

Image via 

Bubble Chart

Bubble charts are great ways to show comparisons. The bubble sizes relate to each other, giving a great visual for the relationship.

Bubble charts only work if the size of the bubbles accurately measure up to each other. For example, showing data in bubbles that have no relationship between size and information is pointless and confusing.


Image via Wikipedia 

Comparisons Split

When comparing a large amount of data or information in two categories, it is a good idea to split the infographic down the middle. This shows all of the information for both categories in a clean way.

This is great when comparing detailed data in two categories as it keeps the information separate but close.


Image via Domilcileexperts


Map charts are very straightforward ways to show information related to location.

Just make sure not to put so much data on a map that it is hard to decipher the exact location point.


Image via PowerfulInfographic
Next Page